NBA Best Bets (Feb. 22): Can Cavs Hang With Heat?

The Cavaliers are 14-11-1 against the spread as visitors this season. Can they hang around and cover the spread against the playoff bound Heat?
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An entertaining All-Star Weekend is in the rear-view mirror and the race to the NBA playoffs is officially underway. Headlined by a clash of Eastern Conference contenders, which features Milwaukee hosting Philadelphia, betting boards display a seven-game slate of action on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020. Cleveland vs. Miami, plus Houston vs. Utah are also included in today’s previews and best bets.

Cleveland Cavaliers at Miami Heat

  • Spread: Heat -13.5 (-110) | Cavaliers +13.5 (-110)
  • Moneyline: Heat -1100 | Cavaliers +700
  • Total Points: 214 O/U (-110)
  • Game Details: 8:00 p.m. ET – American Airlines Arena in Miami, FL

Cleveland Overall: 15-40 SU | 24-29-2 ATS | Fifth Central Division

A brutal season continues in Cleveland, as the Cavaliers are just 2.5 games clear of Golden State (12-44) who sit last overall in the NBA. Cleveland is playing on back-to-back nights following a 113-108 win in Washington on Friday. Prior to that, the Cavs headed into the All-Star break with a 127-105 win at home over Atlanta. Cleveland is 3-6 SU and 4-5 ATS in the second of back-to-back contests and the Cavs have lost four straight in that dynamic recently.

Miami Overall: 35-20 SU | 29-25-1 ATS | First Southeast Division

Miami was running hot, during a 27-10 start to the season, but the Heat cooled some during an 8-10 recent run. Miami returned from the All-Star break and were flat during a 129-124 loss to the Hawks in Atlanta on Thursday. Following a 1-5 slide, during six straight road games, Miami is playing at home for the first since February 5. Trailing Milwaukee by 12 games, plus four behind Boston and 5.5 back of Toronto, Miami sits fourth overall in the Eastern Conference.

Cavaliers vs. Heat Final Thoughts and Prediction

While they haven’t played well anywhere, Cleveland has a dismal 8-18 straight up record on the road. The numbers improve against the spread, as the Cavaliers are 14-11-1 ATS as visitors this season. Overall, Cleveland is averaging 106 points per game on offense and giving up 115 PPG on defense. The Cavs have been outscored by an average 114-105 count during 26 road games. Cleveland is 2-3 SU over the last five as visitors but covered each of those contests.

Tough to beat in South Beach, the Heat are 22-3 SU and own an NBA best 17-8 ATS record at home. Miami is scoring slightly more points (111.9) than they have allowed (108.7) this season. Those numbers change at home as Miami have outscored their opponents by a 117-106 margin as hosts. While the Heat have an 11.5 game lead on Orlando in the Southeast, Miami needs to halt its losing ways so expect a straight up win. The spread is a big number to cover though.

Pick: Cleveland Cavaliers +13.5

Philadelphia 76ers at Milwaukee Bucks

  • Spread: Bucks -8.5 (-110) | 76ers +8.5 (-110)
  • Moneyline: Bucks -400 | 76ers +320
  • Total Points: 226.5 O/U (-110)
  • Details: 8:30 p.m. ET - Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, WI

Philadelphia Overall: 35-21 SU | 25-30-1 ATS | Third Atlantic Division

Philadelphia heads into Milwaukee following four straight wins at home. The 76ers defeated the Grizzlies (119-107) Bulls (118-111) and Clippers (110-103) prior to the All-Star break and posted a 112-104 OT win against the Nets in their first game back on Thursday. Joel Embiid led the 76ers with 39 points and 16 rebounds in the win. Philadelphia is fifth in the Eastern Conference as the 76ers are just a half game behind Miami and two games clear of Indiana.

Milwaukee Overall: 47-8 SU | 32-23 ATS | First Central Division

Milwaukee is the only team that hasn’t hit double-digit losses and the Bucks own a 4.5 game lead on the LA Lakers in the race for home court advantage throughout the 2020 NBA playoffs. Following five straight wins, Milwaukee went into the All-Star break with a 118-111 loss to the Pacers in Indiana. Extending their streak, to 73 regular season games without two straight losses, the Bucks pummeled the Pistons 126-106 in Detroit during their last match on Thursday.

76ers vs. Bucks Final Thoughts and Prediction

These teams are meeting for the third of four contests this season. Philadelphia posted a 121-109 win at home on Christmas Day before Milwaukee evened the series with a 112-101 victory as hosts on February 6. That contest was the 76ers most recent loss and was part of four-game road losing streak. Philadelphia has a sparkling 26-2 record at home but has posted dismal 9-19 SU and ATS numbers on the road. That includes a 1-10 recent record against the spread.

A footnote to the Bucks red-hot streak above: Milwaukee is the only NBA team that has not lost back-to-back games at any point yet this season. Giannis Antetokounmpo and crew are 25-3 straight up at home but dip to 16-12 against the number as hosts. The Bucks have covered three straight contests to boost their ATS record at home. Milwaukee has won and covered four of the last five at home against Philadelphia. Bet on the Bucks continuing that trend here.

Pick: Milwaukee Bucks -8.5

Houston Rockets at Utah Jazz

  • Spread: Jazz -2 (-110) | Rockets +2 (-110)
  • Moneyline: Jazz -130 | Rockets +110
  • Total Points: 235 O/U (-110)
  • Details: 9:00 p.m. ET - Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, UT

Houston Overall: 35-20 SU | 27-28 ATS | First Southwest Division

Opening round NBA playoff matchups are a long way from being determined but Houston and Utah would meet if the postseason started today. The Rockets are riding a modest two-game winning streak as they posted a 116-105 home win over Boston prior to the break and crushed Golden State 135-105 on the road two nights ago. Houston has a 1.5 game lead over Dallas in the Southwest Division and sit fifth in the Western Conference just one game behind Utah.

Utah Overall: 36-19 SU | 27-26-2 ATS | Second Northwest Division

Playing back-to-back games, Utah hosts Houston after winning four of five contests. Utah won four in a row heading into the All-Star break but returned to action with a 113-104 loss at home to San Antonio last night. Including a five-game losing skid (Jan. 27 to Feb. 5) the Jazz are 22-8 straight up and 17-11-2 against the spread over the past 30 games. Utah trails Denver by 1.5 games in the Northwest Division and they are 2.5 games clear of third place Oklahoma City.

Rockets vs. Jazz Final Thoughts and Prediction

Utah has faced stiff competition recently as eight of its last 13 games have been against that are near or at the top of their respective division. This is the rubber-match of the season series after the Jazz lost 126-117 at home to the Rockets on January 27 and then posted a razor thin 114-113 victory in Houston on February 9. These teams split four games last season and then met in the first round of the playoffs. Houston advanced with a convincing 4-1 series win.

Second overall behind Milwaukee (119.7) Houston is averaging 118.5 points per game on offense but the Rockets are bottom ten allowing 114.3 PPG on defense. Utah ranks six overall allowing 107.1 PPG on defense and sit in the middle of the pack scoring 111.3 PPG on offense. Meeting in the playoffs during the past seasons, plus playing two recent games, the Rockets and Jazz are developing a rivalry. Expecting a close contest, take the points and bet on Houston.

Pick: Houston Rockets +2

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